Norway

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Norway Money-Saving Tips

Visa

Visas are not required for American citizens for stays of up to 90 days, but your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the length of your stay.

Language

Most Norwegians speak excellent English, so you’re unlikely to encounter any linguistic problems. Pretty much all tourist information centers have information in English as well as Norwegian, as do hotel and restaurant websites.

Money

Norway is a notoriously expensive country (particularly with the weak dollar), so budget carefully for your holiday. Credit cards are widely accepted. The currency is the Norwegian crown (krone).

Food

Norwegian cuisine, though not widely known outside the country, is tasty and varied. Fish and seafood feature prominently on menus everywhere, with game (moose, reindeer, and deer) another highlight in season. Organic lamb from the Lofoten archipelago (Lofoten lamb) is delicious, too. Make sure you leave room for the pastries and cakes.

Alcohol

You can only purchase beer in supermarkets or shops in Norway. For anything stronger (wine, liquor, or aquavit, the national tipple), you must go to the state-owned outlet, Vinmonopolet. Prices for alcohol are steep (this also applies in bars and restaurants), so stock up on duty-free bottles before you leave.

Stavkirke

Norway has 28 surviving wooden stave churches dating back from the Middle Ages, most of them dotted around the southern half of the country. The oldest is Urnes Stave Church, by Sognefjord, built in 1130, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, but many others are well worth a visit, including Borgund (the best preserved, also in Sogn og Fjordane) and Heddal (the biggest) in Telemark.

Wildlife

Wildlife enthusiasts will be spoilt in Norway, where moose, reindeer, deer, lynx, bear, wolf, fox, lemming, and moskus (the musk ox, imported from Greenland in the last century) all roam freely. Birdwatchers should head north, where seabirds (including puffins) are plentiful. Whales and seals can be spotted there, too.

Trolls

Trolls are a big part of the Norwegian folklore. The scary looking creatures are said to hide in forests, mountains and lakes, and turn to stone when caught in sunlight. You should be able to spot some of them in the landscape around you. If not, don’t despair – it won’t be long before you come across them in a souvenir shop.

Driving

Don’t underestimate distances when driving in Norway – the topography and the elements may slow you down. Remember to leave your headlights on at all times. Moose can be a danger, so drive slowly in forested areas around nightfall. Ferries and tunnels are numerous in the fjords – the Lærdalstunnel is the world’s longest, stretching around 15 miles between Lærdal and Aurland.

Hytte

Quintessentially Scandinavian, “hytter” are a common sight in holiday areas. They range in size from small cabins to big summer houses, and are traditionally built of wood. You can rent a hytte for the duration of your stay, but if you only want to spend a night or two, many campsites have small ones available (www.hytter.co.uk).

Svalbard

Officially part of Norway, although closer to the North Pole than the mainland, Svalbard is the place to go to experience life in the very far north (www.svalbard.net). Polar bears share the land with people, however, so visitors should not venture outside Longyearbyen, the main town, without an armed guide.

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